Monday, May 4, 2009

The world needs ditch diggers too

Now I know why my father always said the world needs ditch diggers too. This would come up when ever my grades were bad (which was pretty much all four years of high school). I remember thinking "What the hell for?"

Well. Now I know. Probably people who grow up on dirt roads know the importance of a good drainage ditch, but personally I didn't realize that ditches were not a natural occurrence.

I have begun to see the need for good drainage. The last few rains in Tyler County have been like freakin' monsoons. During this last torrential flood, the branch that runs through parts of property was more flooded than I have ever seen it before. The water is normally three feet wide and six inches to maybe two feet deep. Two days ago, the water was up to twenty feet wide in some of the flatter places.

The massive amounts of water are taking a toll on the road. Sections of dirt are coming loose and washing down the road. The problem is that through the years, the ruts that we drive on have become lower and lower until they are little channels that the water can't get out of. Worse, the side that should be higher isn't, so the water is not running down the hill towards the branch anywhere except one spot right in front of the cattle guard at the house. The water has cut a hole right in the road that goes under and across. If left alone, that section of road may just turn into a huge sink hole.

I had to do a little maintenance.
Most people out here use a tractor to keep their roads going, but right now I am a pick-and-shovel guy. I can't emphasize enough to buy a good pick and shovel...spend the extra money, it will be worth it.
In order to get the water off the road I had to cut a small opening on the lower side so that the water can flow down the hill. In order to get the water from the other rut to flow the right direction, I made a small berm, kinda like a big speed bump or dam right before the ditch so the water will hit it and be forced to flow off the road. I made three of them, one at each spot where it starts to change height. I am hoping that I will have few days for it to dry up before it rains again. To make the berm I used big clumps of grassy dirt with thick roots to help bind it together, but without time to pack it down, it may just all wash away.
Someday we will re-cover the road with gravel or concrete wash, which is little hunks of concrete that they wash out of mixing trucks. Right now we're just hoping the road doesn't just turn into one big sloppy mud puddle.

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